Worship that works – spirituality that connects

The title of this post comes from the ‘strapline’ of the Liturgy website run by Rev. Bosco Peters. I like the aspiration of providing ‘liturgy’ in which engenders ‘spirituality that connects’. There seems to be a re-discovery of how liturgy can provide a useful structure or framework to maintain a prayerful life – it can help sustain a ‘discipline’ of prayer. Material to help us focus on God and our lives – to ‘connect’ with God, our neighbours and  ourselves.

He is an advocate for rediscovering the Liturgy of the Hours.

Liturgy of the Hours

Rite Series Online – new American Anglican resource website

Just came across what promises to be a helpful resource for worship service planning and reflection – Rite Series.

However, it is not a free website – to access more than brief sample sections of the liturgical material (“ritebrain”) you have to pay an annual subscription of $39.99. Others sections have different subscription prices.

In any case, here are two direct inks to some liturgical resources on the website:

Enriching our worship – 1

Enriching our worship – 2

Striving to know the Lord in worship

Worship seems to need to be both a joyful and serious business – the joy of the Lord should be our strength but there seems to be a need for careful and sober intentionality in order not to miss what we should be about. Hosea remind as that we must ‘strive to know the Lord’* and that sometimes the Lord has to say to His people ‘Your love for me is like the morning mist, like the dew that goes early away’**. Our worship practices should guide us to a deeper love and devotion and knowledge of God. ‘For loyalty is my desire and nor sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.’*** We know that the Lord commanded the sacrifices and the burnt offerings to be part of the old covenant worship but it seems that the fulfilling of these liturgical requirement were by no means His ultimate intention. If worship stopped at those practices alone then worship was not authentic. The sacrifices and burnt offerings were meant to lead to or inspire a live of committed and loyal living to God – to a heart after God. So, too, our worship and devotional practices are not ends in themselves – in them all there is still a need to ’strive to know the Lord’. We are not to hold to an outward form of godliness but deny its power – ultimately unable to embrace the truth which has the power to set us free.****

‘As we rejoice in the gift of this new day. so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and for ever.’*****

 

References: * Hosea 6:4, **Hosea 6:7, ***Hosea 6:9, ****2 Tim 3:5-7, ***** Morning Prayer service in Common Worship

 

La Nuit du christianisme (Christianity Night) – an all-night worship event in Lyon

I came across this creative programme for an all-night time of worship and prayer at the Basilica of Saint -Martin d’ Ainay in Lyon, France planned for Friday, 11th October 2013 starting at 8:30pm. (For more information in French see ‘La Vie’)

I was struck by the diversity of those leading the corporate worship at different times.

44336_nuit-christianisme_440x260

It is billed as a night of worshipping together with other Christians – singing, praising, worshiping, experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit and proclaiming Christ.

The proposed ‘order of service’ is as follows:

8:30 p.m. Introduction of the Night of Worship and Prayer.
8:40 p.m. Welcome by Father François Lamy
8:50 p.m. Prayer for unity, vespers and praise.
9:40 p.m. Praise with the Sentinels group.
10:30 p.m. Aramaic songs with choir and Chaldean group from Vaulx -en- Velin .
23 am Christian music and dance with the Brazilian community Palavra Viva.
MIDNIGHT Brother Alois of Taizé.
0:15 Songs of Taizé Alive Youth Ministry, Villeurbanne .
1:15 Contemporary praise with Rebecca Rodrigues and group.
2:15 Contemplative songs with Sylvie Buisset .
2:45 Israeli Dances with Esther de Torcy, the community of the Beatitudes .
3:45 Worship led by the Community of the Apostles of Peace.
4:45 Praying with our five senses using the Rule of St. Ignatius of Loyola, with the Ignatian Family ( Jesuit Community of Christian life … ) .
5:45 Jaascaï , Youth With A Mission .
6:45 Lauds Service with the Dominican community in Lyon.
7:30 Breakfast at sunrise .

The whole event is organised by Xavier Accart , Véronique and Henrik Lindell in collaboration with Father François Lamy.

 

 

Fragility of life and worship

‘Almighty God, our eternal refuge, teach us to live with the knowledge of our death and to rejoice in the promise of your glory, revealed to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.’

This is the responsive prayer to Psalm 91 in Common Worship which was in the lectionary readings this morning. I was struck by the phrase ‘teach us to live with the knowledge of our death’. Not at first sight the most cheery advice but, on reflection, in the light of eternity and our evident fragility, can we not see this as wise counsel? In life we have to negotiate, and somehow hold together, the reality of pain and suffering and, at the same time, the hope of glory and the love of God. The psalm reflects on the brevity and the sorrows of life – that the days of our life are ‘but labour and sorrow’ and that our life will ‘soon pass away’ and that it needs to be lived with intentional care – ‘teach us to number our days’. The psalmist’s seemingly only sure guarantee of joy and gladness in this life is to know experientially the ‘loving-kindness’ of God – the certainty of which is implied in the acknowledgement of the above prayer that God is ‘our eternal refuge’.

Worship is a struggle when life is hard and difficult because we can be less aware of God’s love. If we do not feel loved or cannot see evidence of that love life becomes even more of an ‘up-hill struggle’. What should we do in those times? The psalmist seems to see the seeking of a satisfying experience of God’s loving-kindness to be the key to being able to ‘rejoice and be glad’ whatever he may be facing in life.

Similarly, the apostle Paul talks of a hope in difficult times that will not disappoint because ‘we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love’*.

Fill us anew we pray.

*(Romans 5 v5)